At the insistence of the owner of Mountain Ridge Adventure in Glenville, 14-year-old Mia Casalinuovo from Clifton Park gave a Tarzan scream as she pulled off a high zip-line platform and then descended from a cargo net to the ground.
The treetop obstacle and zip line park were opened for the season this weekend.
Casalinuovo is a member of a football team for the Capital District Firestorm Club. Club owner John Quimby rented the park for three hours on Sunday for about 50 players on six of his teams.
It should blow off steam and make for a necessary team building activity during the 14th month of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quimby said.
Cohoes’ Carissa Shanahan joins a zip line on the Spirit Course on Sunday afternoon. STAN HUDY / THE DAILY GAZETTE
The park features canopy zip lines up to 70 feet above the ground as users negotiate obstacles.
With a body harness tied to a safety cable, guests move from tree to tree by crossing bridges, swings, swinging logs, cargo nets, and zip lines.
“It’s been a tough year with everything,” said Quimby. “We played a lot, but mentally they needed something like that.”
Quimby said he got the idea to bring the teams after having a casual meeting with a park worker who suggested the program could benefit from using the park.
“I waited for them to open and the weather worked and it was great,” said Quimby, whose players are between 11 and 17 years old.
While it was fun, Casalinuovo said the park physically pushed her.
Plus, it helps with team communication, said Casalinuovo, who works in every position in the field.
She said her team can’t practice as much as they want.
Amelia Cataldo from Burnt Hills shows what to do when an adventurer is stuck on a leash. STAN HUDY / THE DAILY GAZETTE
“It’s definitely more difficult because of COVID,” said the teenager. “We tried our best sometimes and we can maybe do a team run or just have a Team FaceTime to check in with everyone.”
Zip lining goes well with social distancing, said Olivia Cellini, co-owner of Mountain Ridge Adventure.
The course, which sits on 50 acres of land, lends itself to spacing as only one person can use an obstacle at a time, Cellini said.
The park only holds a lot of gear for no more than 60 people at a time, she said.
Face masks are not required but are recommended. Users must stay six feet apart.
Ashlynn Boyce from Clifton Park is about to cross a rope wall that is part of her Firestorm FC soccer team based in Niskayuna. STAN HUDY / THE DAILY GAZETTE
According to Cellini, workers are trying to keep the lines moving and do their best to reduce traffic.
“If you’re stuck in a row and just kind of bored, it’s no fun,” she said.
The park is in season six, said Cellini, a civil engineer who shares the business with her husband Michael.
It started, she said, when Cellini gave her husband a zip line as a Father’s Day present.
The park is open April through Halloween and has “zombie zips,” Cellini said.
Last year, at the start of COVID, the state requested that it remain closed for the first three months of the year.
It reopened at the end of June.
Aside from the first week when it was difficult to get people known that it was open, the park was sold out most days, Cellini said.
The company, which also has an additional 40 feet of elevation gain from a platform called the Leap of Faith, spoke to the area’s pent-up demand for outdoor activities during the pandemic, she said.
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